Marinades are particularly well suited to beef and game, but can be used to liven up the mild flavor of chicken and all its relatives. Marinades are created using a blend of oil, vinegar and seasonings that is then used as a soak for the item before it is cooked. The ratio is generally 2/3 cup oil to 1/4 cup vinegar (or Lemon juice) and herbs to taste usually around 2 tablespoons of dry herbs, more if you are using fresh.
The high acid content of a marinade (from vinegar) helps tenderize meat as well as impart wonderful flavors.
Always prepare your marinade in a shallow non-reactive dish or pan just large enough to hold the meat comfortably. Be sure to turn the meat so the flavor will permeate all surfaces evenly. Very thin cuts of meat can be marinated an hour or so at room temperature, but roasts and larger cuts should stand longer, even up to two days in the refrigerator. Just remember to turn the meat every few hours and let it return to room temperature before cooking.
When marinating chicken, a few hours to overnight is generally long enough. Lemon is a perfect flavor for chicken so substituting Lemon juice for the vinegar is perfect. If you are marinating fish no more than an hour in the marinade is recommended. The soft flesh of fish easily absorbs marinade and the acid actually “cooks” the fish, so too long can damage the texture and flavor. It is recommended to place the marinade on the fish and then cook immediately in foil, or use as a baste while grilling.
Marinade on vegetables does not need as much acid as meats and can be made with just oil. With vegetables, one can soak them in the marinade or brush it on during grilling.
Backyard Patch Herbs makes a selection of Herb Seasonings to create marinade as well as dressings that can double as a marinade. For a complete list of these, check out our on-line catalog: marinade – Backyard Patch Herbs